Calling all writers and readers!
Showcase your favorite book—or at least page 69 of it—here!
Turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book.
That was Marshall McLuhan’s advice anyway. Over the next few Wednesdays, I invite readers to submit their own or other works (pg. 69 only of course!) via the Contact Form here.
Ruby’s War by Pauline Saull
Genre: Wartime RomanceCan love survive the separation of war? Ruby Cohen and Erich Lehman believe so. Ruby, a talented pianist, is sent to England for her own safety by a caring benefactor. Erich, an architectural student, is sent by his father, but not for his safety. His father harbors evil intentions and needs Erich out of the way to achieve them.The pair meet at Hamburg station, and on the journey to London, love blossoms. But due to unforeseen circumstances, they are separated. For six long years, Ruby and Eric struggle to find each other again amidst the storms of war. Throughout other loves, sorrows, and tribulations, the memory of their bond is never forgotten. A twist of fate brings Ruby and Erich back together in Germany at the end of the war. Both have pasts they would rather not share…can their love survive the scars Fate has dealt while they were apart?
Page 69 Excerpt (Hartwood Publishing, 2014):
On their return to the cottage, Fitz made a pot of tea, and they sat around the fire in awkward silence as he poured the steaming liquid into china cups.
Ruby felt the tension and determined it wouldn’t be her who eased it.
“So,” Click’s blue-eyed gaze darted from her to Fitz, “are you two going to tell me the truth?”
Ruby held her cup with both hands and eyed him coolly. “Why do you want to know?”
“You don’t have to say anything, Rosie…not unless you want to,” Fitz warned.
Click sighed and rolled his eyes. “Drop the bullshit, Fitz old fellow. I knew straight away she wasn’t South African with that accent. But I do know,” he turned to Ruby, “that you’re German, a pianist, and so must be here in England as a special case refugee. Right?”
Ruby felt a smile tug at the corner of her mouth. “Then you don’t need me to tell you anything.”
“Oh, but I do. You fascinate me. I feel there must be a tremendous story lurking behind those big brown eyes.”
Fitz coughed. “Leave it, Click.”
“No, it is okay.” Ruby put down her cup and pulled her legs up to tuck them beneath her. “Click’s guessed half of it. I may as well tell him the rest. But you must both promise not to laugh if I make mistakes with the English. It is still quite new to me!” She smiled and looked from one to the other of the young men, who both watched her, their faces alight with expressions, which in her naïveté, she was unable to decipher.
“So. I start in Hamburg. Fitz knows this part already; how my parents fought, mostly over my mother’s whoring, and that both were found dead. He strangled her, then killed himself. I had never played—”
“Wait! Your father murdered your mother?”
Ruby nodded, her face registering no feeling. “Yes. They were crazy people. And as I was saying, I had never played a musical note but had a sudden urge to learn the piano. When my hands touched the keys that very first time,” she looked down at them
Sounds good? Get your copy of Ruby’s War here.
Tears of the River by Gordon L. RottmanGenre: YA Adventure, Survival, Romance A coming of age self-discovery story of frantic survival, the value of diversity, dependence on one another. Fifteen-year-old Karen Herber is exactly where she wants to be—in the Nicaraguan rainforest with a volunteer medical team. What she had not expected was a hurricane collapsing a bridge to wipe out her team and a mudslide burying a village. Only a Nicaraguan six-year-old girl and a forty-four-year-old woman with both arms broken survive the mudslide. Then she finds that Jaydon Bonner survived, a privileged, arrogant seventeen-year-old American tenderfoot. Academic and confidence concerns are already dragging Karen down and she was tagged a “weak leader” in Outward Bound School. Her doctor parents are pushing her into a medical career, of which she’s uncertain. Less than fluent in Spanish, but an experienced backpacker, the reluctant leader is challenged by Nature, animals, desperate men and her fellow survivors’ mistrust and cultural differences. Their only path to salvation is a risky boat trip down a rainforest river, 150 miles to the mysterious Mosquito Coast. Karen soon finds her companions’ experiences, so different from her own, invaluable with each deadly encounter forging a closer bond between them.
Page 69 (Hartwood Publishing Group, June 2, 2014) Karen and her companions discover a boat landing and row their boat in. Hopefully searching the abandoned village will yield food. They discover more than they bargained for and fall into a deadly situation.
Karen steered for the bare patch. Something didn’t feel right, but she had no idea what.
Nosing the boat into the landing she could tell Tía was apprehensive, but the woman didn’t say anything. Karen listened, hearing only bird chatter.
She managed to convey to Tía that she and Jay were going ashore to see if there were people or possibly any food left behind.
She and Jay slipped on their shoes as Tía cautioned them to be careful. “Vayan con Dios,”—Go with God, she muttered with pain-filled eyes. Even though Jay couldn’t understand, she told him to protect Karen as she was helpless. That hurt—Thanks for the vote of confidence. Karen didn’t see him being able to offer much protection from…whatever.
“You up for this?” she asked.
“Yeah, sure. Let’s go for it.” He didn’t sound too positive.
They crept up the bank and peered over. Karen had taken the machete gripping its black handle tightly.
They were looking down a long narrow clearing, over a football field long and as wide as a four-lane road. Tucked into the trees on either side were a few ramshackle bamboo and thatch houses. There were probably more among the trees. They were up on log stilts, four or five feet high. It had flooded, but had since receded.
There was no movement, no sounds of animals or chickens. Even the birds now seemed quiet. The breeze barely rustled the treetops. Karen realized the sun was low. They needed to light up their fire. A thought crossed her mind. Maybe we could camp here. She didn’t know why, but it simply didn’t feel comfortable here.
Karen led off, sticking close to the trees on the right. Jay was on her heels. They moved slowly.
The first house was smaller and cruder than the ones back in the mud-buried farmstead. She peeked into the door, but it was too dark to see anything. She should have brought flashlights. She’d not been thinking ahead she chastised herself.
Before treading up the split log steps, she pointed to the next house, some thirty feet away, and whispered, “Check it out for food. Stay quiet.” Without any acknowledgement, Jay skulked toward the rickety house.
She tiptoed into the house pausing to let her eyes adjust to the gloomy, musty single room. The only window was in the back and was covered by a split-open burlap sack. There was a crude plank table and two backless chairs, a few wooden fruit crates to one side; not much else. The crates were empty as was a cardboard box in a corner. The former occupants had taken just about everything with them, what little they possessed.
“¡Salte de aqui!”—Come out! She heard Jay say. An ice-like shock lanced through her. That wasn’t Jay!
“Oh crap,” she gasped and dashed for the door. There was an indiscernible shout. She halted, crept to the wall and peaked through a crack in the bamboo slats. Two men, in their twenties, were in front of the next house, the one Jay had headed to. The men were moving toward the door; something was menacing about them. A third man appeared out of the trees on the other side. Yikes! He’s carrying a shotgun! Another came out of the woods at a run with a machete. Karen gulped feeling weak-kneed and seeing herself facing him with her own machete. She felt like dropping it.
The first two clambered up the stairs into the hut—they too had machetes. There were scuffle noises and Jay tumbled down the steps with the two men leaping down and shouting. The man with the shotgun aimed it at the prone boy. Karen turned to ice in spite of the heat. A fifth man came out of a house further down and ran toward the little mob—with a machete of course. No surprise. In rural Nicaragua, the machete was a tool and a weapon. A man no sooner left home without one than an American left home without her smartphone.
There was a lot of shouting and they were pushing Jay around. Bastardos.
They were a rough looking bunch, unshaved, shaggy dirty hair, grubby shorts or cutoff jeans, holey T-shirt s, and sandals or running shoes held together with duct tape.
She made out scattered words. “¿Quiéneres. ¿Hay otros?”—Who are you? Are there others? Once Jay glanced toward her house.
Karen was scared now. Then she remembered Tía and Lomara in the boat. What if these guys went to the landing to see if the stranger had arrived by boat? How else would a gringo have gotten there? They’d want a boat. What would they do to Tía and Lomara? They’d not take the two with them if they wanted the boat. There wasn’t room and who’d want to bother with a little girl and a sick old woman with broken arms?
One of the men punched Jay in the face and he crumpled to the ground like a feed sack. Panic blasted through Karen and she darted to the back window, flung aside the curtain and plummeted to the ground. Get a grip, she ordered herself. Crouching, she looked beneath the house and could see only the men’s legs. One roughly pulled Jay to his feet and said something about “una mula gringo.” She eased into the trees behind the house. Turning, she ran through the brush. Vines and brush grabbed her legs, lashing her exposed shins.
She crashed out of the brush with leaves flying scaring the daylights out of Tía and Lomara.
Sounds good? Get your copy of Tears of the River here.
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